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Our Admissions Counselors’ Favorite Summer Reads

We are in high gear preparing for Application Boot Camp 2018 (just one week away!) but there’s always time for a good book.

Back in January we suggested various books for the budding scientist, the promising doctor, the history buff, etc… and we’re so happy to see many of you taking our suggestions. As we tell each of our students, higher-level reading is KEY to becoming a more careful and critical reader, skills you’ll require in college and beyond. Voracious readers are better writers, and it shows when writing college applications!

We thought it would be fun to provide a little insight into what our Private Counseling gurus are reading this summer in hopes of keeping the summer reading fire burning! We’d love to hear your favorites in the comments.



The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
This magical story, set in Alaska, is one I literally couldn’t put down. Some of the ethereal images and gritty details are with me still.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
This coming of age story was rich with character quirks and beautiful dialogue. This book is on the reading list for a private high school in New England and I always enjoy reading what my students are reading.


House of Names by Colm Tóibín
A classic retelling of the Oresteia with dazzling language!

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
Difficult topic of a young girl held captive by her domineering father, but the language is so astonishing it pulls you right into the drama.


The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
A unique glimpse of the many layers of kindness and chaos in life…enjoy!

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
One hundred stories of remarkable women in history who amaze my 2 1/2 year old daughter AND me.


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The story of a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
A very poignant memoir of a young doctor confronting his own mortality in the face of a stage IV lung cancer diagnosis.


The Power by Naomi Alderman
My favorite read this summer thus far! It’s a combination of The Hunger Games and The Handmaid’s Tale — too violent for younger students, but such a smart take on gender norms (and a page-turner to boot!).

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
This is one of my favorite books that I’m currently rereading! It’s a really funny, clever take on Jane Eyre, so you’ll want to read that novel first. It would make a great summer read for students interested in literature.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I haven’t started it yet, but this is next up on my to-read list. It has been at the top of the NYT Young Adult Bestsellers list for 72 weeks (with no signs of slowing down!), and it’s supposed to be absolutely incredible.

summer reading list for rising seniors


Many colleges publish summer reading lists so students can dive right in once classes begin. Then again, their goal is to have scholars on campus so they expect you to be well-read. And, avid readers do better on standardized tests we’ve found, which will help you secure a spot in the ADMIT pool in the first place!

Moral of the story, keep reading… for fun, for scholarly pursuit…just keep reading and if you hit that writer’s block; we’re here to help!

2 replies on “Our Admissions Counselors’ Favorite Summer Reads”

Educated by Tara Westover. Affluent kids you work with need to be exposed to such is a world they do not know….I know some of this having grown up in a deeply rural area

David Breeden, PhD

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